It is often claimed that all young people are highly adept with the digital technologies that infuse their lives, and that the way they think and behave has created a new gap between them and their teachers. It is suggested that to bridge this gap and ensure that young people are fully engaged, educators must incorporate digital technology more effectively into teaching and learning. This is problematic, however, because technology has had limited impact on education and has failed to be widely adopted as a learning support across many aspects of school and university education. More needs to be known about how technology is seen by young people and their teachers in order to understand the true nature of the problem that has been identified.
This chapter will report on recent research investigating the reasons why digital technologies are adopted by university students in their everyday and academic lives. The findings provide insights into how the ‘rules of the game’ in different contexts influence the ways in which individuals perceive the utility of a technology and the ways in which they use it. This research draws on sociological concepts as an orienting theoretical framework to investigate and conceptualise these differences and consider what they mean for the integration of digital technologies in education.